Wednesday, May 6

The Swine Flu Scare

The news has been flooded with the swine flu scare. However Mexico has recently begun to reopen their shops and schools according to an article by BBC News:

I don’t know a lot about the virus, but it seems to me that they media has blown the virus out of proportion. From what I understand new viruses are discovered every year, with the common flu virus killing thousands of people around the world. So why is the swine flu such a big deal? Yes they virus has killed people, but the people at most risk are the young and elderly, like all virus infections. Why don’t the networks care about other viruses that kill thousands of people every year? I think the obvious answer is that the news networks are making a ton of money off of this scare. By hyping this story up, people are checking the news daily/hourly to see if any new cases have been discovered and the news networks are making a killer profit. It is in their best interest to make things seem like a bigger deal than they really are. I wish the news networks would just report the news, and not add any “drama” to ensure that viewers keep coming back for updates. This (profit) is the biggest problem with big news networks, because they care more about making money then delivering unbiased news.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree with you. The media seems, usually, to be focused on ratings rather than delivering the news. For example, I remember seeing a segment on CNN (I think it was them) about some new research dealing with mineral deficiencies. They introduced the segment by saying “Recent data has revealed a lack of this mineral may take years off your life!” Next, they went to commercial break. Anyone really curious about the subject would either turn to the internet or wait through the commercial break. If the news story was as important as the tone of the story was, I’m pretty sure it would be too important to cut to commercial break.
    It really is not that science-related, but it is heavy in ethics. What is the purpose of making people scared, especially if it concerns health? I could see spreading fear over a real disease, like a hypothetical airborne HIV-like virus, but a new flu virus just seems over-hyped. From what I’ve read, the people (as Alex has also stated) that have died in the US were young, sick or elderly. Of course, there will be more deaths in the undeveloped world but that is because they do not have access to health care like we do. However, the same is said about HIV/AIDS—a far more destructive disease.
    There is not real way to combat bad ethics in the media, though. The free market, along with freedom of press, makes it nearly impossible to keep media agents from over-hyping anything to make some money. Guess it is just up to people to filter out the crap and see the details.


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